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Rady School of Management

Cultivating Creativity: Innovative Thinking in the Workplace

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Creativity involves the generation of an idea that is both novel and useful. Because of fast changing technologies and increasingly competitive markets, companies are looking to workers at all levels and areas – not just in the traditionally creative areas of marketing and R&D – to come up with ideas that can be developed into innovative new products, services, processes, and solutions. Staying a step ahead of competitors often requires creative thinking, but so does responding to competitors quickly and, more generally, responding to an ever-changing environment.

Individuals and teams are all creative to some extent, but there is always room for improvement. This course is about how both can reach their creative potential. It is designed to (a) help you be more creative, (b) teach you how to manage teams so that they are more creative than members working alone, and (c) help you understand key design elements that lead to creative workers. Importantly, we will discuss themes of creativity that are common to individuals and teams.

How to increase your (and others’) creativity

  • Understand what creativity is, why it’s important, and how it relates to analytical thinking
  • The general problem – a tendency to focus on a small number of alternatives – can be overcome
  • New ideas are rooted in old ideas, so increasing breadth and depth of knowledge is crucial
  • Learn methods for accessing that vast knowledge base in your head
  • increasing creativity requires overcoming many natural tendencies – i.e., it’s hard work
  • Understand the relation between creativity and good decision making

How to increase team and organizational creativity

  • Teams can be result in more creativity than individuals alone, but must be actively managed
  • Natural group processes work against creativity
  • Learn how to build teams that have the most creative potential
  • Learn how to access and harness diverse opinions and perspectives in groups


Research Areas Decision making Rationality Creativity McKenzie''s interests revolve around inference, uncertainty and choice. Most of his recent research explains errors people purportedly make in the laboratory by adopting a different (usually Bayesian) normative approach to the task of inte...
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